Vitamins and Minerals

The lingo on the front of many food packages describes the amount of vitamins or minerals found in a single serving. For specific amounts of the nutrients described, check the Nutrition Facts on the label.

High, Rich in, Excellent source of means 20% or more of the Daily Value.*

Good source, Contains, Provides means 10 to 19% of the Daily Value.*

More, Enriched, Fortified, Added means 10% or more of the Daily Value*

*As compared with a standard serving size of the traditional food electron from body cells to become stable. Over time, that may lead to cell dysfunction and contribute to the onset of health problems such as cancer, artery and heart disease, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and some deterioration that goes with aging. Antioxidants in your body counteract the action of free radicals.

Three antioxidant vitamins appear to neutralize free radicals: beta carotene and other carotenoids, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Some enzymes that have trace minerals—selenium, copper, zinc, and manganese— and some phytonutrients act as antioxidants, too. As scavengers, antioxidant vitamins mop up free radicals by donating an electron of their own. The result? Antioxidants may control free radicals or convert them to harmless waste products that get eliminated before they do damage. Antioxidants even may help undo some damage already done to body cells.

Each antioxidant has its own biological job description. Being water-soluble, vitamin C removes free radicals from fluids inside and outside of body cells. Beta carotene and vitamin E, because they're fat-soluble, are present in lipids and fat tissues in your body. Antioxidants seem to complement each other. Because they work together, an excess or a deficiency of one may inhibit the benefits of other antioxidants.

Scientific evidence can't promise that antioxidant nutrients provide a "safety shield" from chronic diseases. Their role and potential interactions in reducing the risks are among the many unknowns. And we don't know the potentially adverse affects of ongoing, high intakes of these nutrients from supplements, either. Still, a varied diet—that follows MyPyramid— with plenty of antioxidant-containing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is smart eating!

A "Garden" of Antioxidants

Where should your antioxidant vitamins come from? An eating style with plenty of fruits and vegetables is undisputed as the wisest approach to good health.

Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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